By Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist
Summertime and grilling go hand in hand, but make sure you make smart choices when it comes to what you are placing on your grill! If you’re a big meat eater, you may want to pay attention to this: grilling meat can lead to the production of carcinogenic or cancer causing compounds. Some of these harmful compounds, Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), form when meat, especially fatty meat, is cooked at high temperatures or charred and burned. This summer, you can help reduce your cancer risk by wearing sunscreen and grilling wisely (like veggies!).
1. Grill more veggies and fruits! If you ever needed a reason to eat more plant foods this summer here’s a great one; grilling and charring vegetables doesn’t produce the harmful cancer causing compounds that can be formed when grilling meats. Try these Herb Marinated Grilled Veggie Skewers.
2. Boost your protein intake at your next picnic with beans. Go for a tasty Black Bean Burger in place of meat.
3. Cut down on time and fat. Choose lean meats – for red meat, look for lean grass-fed beef. Reduce heat on the grill, flip your meat often to help avoid charring, and cover your grill or wrap your meat in aluminum foil to limit direct contact with the grill. Pre-cook your meat to reduce time on the grill; less time can mean less exposure to carcinogenic compounds.
4. Choose a marinade with lemon and rosemary. Thinner, more acidic marinades are less likely to burn compared to a thicker, more sugary marinade.